Did teachers union president Randi Weingarten really switch her position on mayoral control? I reviewed exactly what she said when she first introduced the union’s position in February, courtesy of my notes from her briefing to reporters.
She laid out two main checks on the mayor’s power. Here’s the first (the emphasis is mine):
Probably the biggest difference between this report and what you’ve seen thus far and what the mayor would argue is to have an independent – to have some more representatives on the policy board so that for the mayor to have a policy that he or she wants adopted, he or she would have to convince a couple more people. Not simply his or her representatives. And the couple more people that he or she would have to convince are people who are already elected as representatives of the people, whether it be the City Council speaker whether it be the public advocate whether it be a city comptroller. That’s really the change: Trying to figure out an institutional check and balance so that things don’t go awry.
Later, a reporter asked Weingarten if the proposal was a bargaining position. She suggested that it wasn’t.
“I have lots of opinions about what the governance system should look like, but I have constantly said that I would defer to what the committee has said,” Weingarten said. “I think that what the committee has come up with is a sound system of governance that helps to accomplish the mission of educating the young people in this city.”
A teacher who chaired the union’s committee, Emil Pietromonaco, chimed in, saying that the group specifically designed theproposal to be a good governance system, “not a strong opinion on the other end so that they could negotiate to the middle.”